I know it’s a little strange to be too busy during the pandemic, but I’ve ended up being swamped with work I’m doing this week for the Walnut Valley Festival’s NewSong Showcase, and I have a Facebook live concert tomorrow, so I’m presenting an oldie. It was a very starry sky in northern Alberta last night, as my daughter and I were looking up at the sky, and she asked me what a certain formation of stars was, and I replied with confidence, “I think that’s Scorpio. Either that or the Little Dipper or something.”
Clearly I wouldn’t have made it as one of the magi, but it did remind me of this bluegrass zodiac column I wrote back in 2012:
I’ve become very disillusioned with the zodiac, I have to admit. First there were the overly general daily horoscopes: “Make sound financial decisions today. Expect news from a friend, family member, or other human being you may or may not know.” These are no better than fortune cookie fortunes, just longer, and without the cookie as a reward at the end (though are fortune cookies really good enough to be considered a reward?).
Then came the news from some astronomers in Minneapolis, or maybe Duluth, that we didn’t take into account something-or-other about the movement of the earth or sun or something (can you tell this wasn’t my major?), and so the whole zodiac is off by weeks. This means that you may have been born under a totally different sign, with planets all in different places than you thought (those sneaky planets).
Add to this the fact that the Mayans apparently manipulated it all because they wanted their calendar to be divisible by 12 instead of 14, so two zodiac signs were just swept under the rug, which required a very large rug.
On a slightly related note, the Mayans turn out to be the original authors of that “Thirty days hath September” poem, except it supposedly had a lot more poetic beauty in the original Mayan language (even some poetic beauty would have been an improvement), and it’s actually possible to remember the last two lines. They set it to a traditional Mayan melody which bears a striking similarity to Widowmaker.
Anyway, because of all this, I now learn that I’m not really a Sagittarius. Instead, I was born under the sign of some other doctor sort of guy. All the traits that I happily accepted as mine, e.g., love of travel, music, philosophy, and having four hooves instead of two legs, now have to be thrown out, and I need to accept that I am more analytical, with an affinity for medicine and snake-handling (it could have been “snail-handling,” because I read this with my glasses off).
Rather than try to cultivate a whole new personality to go with my new sign, I’m choosing the path of cynicism about the whole thing, and I’d like to return to the 12-sign system, as the Mayans intended, thank you very much. Now that I’ve also learned that the Mayans didn’t really predict the end of the world in 2012 (they were just predicting that they’d need to get a new calendar in 2012, maybe one with kittens on it), I generally try to agree with the Mayans on everything.
I’d like to propose slightly more useful horoscopes too. It occurred to me that we need horoscopes for the bluegrass musician. Sure, they can be just as made-up and non-specific as the ones we read in the paper or on our internet home page, but at least they’ll have some relevance to our profession and/or hobby. Below is a sample bluegrass horoscope that will be valid from now until whenever the Mayans say it’s no longer valid:
Aries: Relationship tension may flare with an insecure loved one. Decline any invitations to walk “a little ways” down to any river banks this week.
Taurus: With Jupiter in the 5th house (on the left, look for the blue mailbox), this is a time for planning ahead financially. Don’t blow all your CD sales money before you reorder.
Gemini: As is so often the case with you, Gemini, you’re of two minds: get some sleep before your 10:00 a.m. Gospel set, or stay up all night and pick. Another air sign mandolin player may help you make that choice.
Cancer: Your celebrated domestic side will show itself this week. You may find yourself repainting the bus orange, or sewing your own bass case.
Leo: Your leadership qualities may be tested, as members of your band hold out for more than $60 a show. Should you hold firm? A fellow fire sign Sagittarius may hold the answer.
Virgo: Is this a time to break out of that cautious rut? Lower your guitar strap a notch, put on a pair of shades and play a reggae arrangement of the Stanley Brothers’ Lonely Tombs. Why not, Virgo?
Libra: Your characteristic striving for balance will be tested this week as family demands enter in on a day that you’re scheduled for two shows plus a banjo workshop.
Scorpio: You will be visited by three stalkers: expect the first when the clock strikes one, just at the end of your set. Exit the wrong side of the stage and keep going.
Sagittarius: You will play the part of the happy archer this week, as your arrow will find it’s mark: a capo endorsement deal, but patience when you aim is critical.
Capricorn: This is a time for a fresh start. You might want to consider changing strings or learning a new song (we’re all getting pretty sick of your old ones).
Aquarius: There may be conflict looming on the horizon with friends and family. Consider practicing fiddle with a mute this week.
Pisces: The moon (or is that the sun?) transiting Saturn will put Little Maggie in the house of relationships. Look out for women with banjos on their knees, wearing .44s around them.
If it’s your birthday today: I forgot to send you a card, I’m sorry.